March 2011, Issue10

Dear Friend,

I hope you are well and enjoying the beginnings of spring.

So much has happened in the last two months. Our thoughts are with the great many people affected by the devastating earthquake in Japan, and also with all those involved or caught up in unrest and conflict in the Middle East and now in the Ivory Coast.

I am pleased to be able to fill you in on a range of exciting developments and events at the Dialogue Society. Firstly, I am delighted to announce that two of the dialogue charities to which the Dialogue Society has been providing regular consultancy and support have decided, after a period of reflection and discussion, to become branches of the Dialogue Society. They will continue their work promoting intercultural dialogue, community cohesion and proactive citizenship in the North and South of England respectively as the Leeds branch and the Southampton branch of the Dialogue Society. We look forward to furthering our shared goals across the country by working more closely and effectively together as a cohesive organisation.

The Dialogue Society is also “branching out” into a new form of dialogue- we have recently launched our Dialogue Columns. You may have noticed these on the website. Dialogue Society advisors, speakers and associates are contributing short articles reflecting on some of our key areas of interest. In particular, the Columns aim to explore dialogue theories/theorists and stories. For an example of a column on dialogue theories, please click here. As for columns about dialogue stories we mean real stories that illustrate how dialogue can work in real life. It could be an unexpected outcome from a mundane activity like a chance encounter during shopping. Or a more unusual event that led to greater insight into the lifestyle or culture of another person. If you have a dialogue story to share, be it from personal experience or hearsay, please let us know by contacting hmurat@dialoguesociety.org.

In London, March saw the conclusion of our “Making Dialogue Effective” series, which has been a fascinating learning process. The series will be replicated at Dialogue Society branches, multiplying the range of insights on which we can draw in producing a publication of key findings.

Highlights of a busy and varied programme at the Leeds branch have included an exploration of Western influences on the East and Eastern influences on the West in education, and a Muslim-Christian dialogue workshop focused on the Virgin Mary. Leeds volunteers and friends have also been out planting trees!

We hope that you will be able to join us for one of our forthcoming events. On 13th April we have our final Media School session, on Crisis and Reputation Management, in London, and an exploration of the Role of Spirituality in Stress Management at the Workplace in Leeds. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy browsing our ever-growing collection of columns.

With best wishes for a pleasant spring and a happy Easter,

Warmest Regards
Ozcan Keles
Executive Director

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Launches

Launch of Leeds Branch

Launch of Leeds BranchWe are very pleased to announce that after several months of exploratory discussion board members of the Leeds-based Education and Dialogue Charity have decided to continue their dialogue work as part of the Dialogue Society. The Dialogue Society has been providing regular consultancy and support to EDC over the past three years for its projects promoting intercultural dialogue in the North of England. We believe that this move will create a cohesive, streamlined organisation that can more easily deliver consistently high quality projects in different localities. Henceforth, EDC will continue its work as the Dialogue Society, Leeds branch with a geographical reach of Northern England. The Dialogue Society website now has a Leeds Branch section, and the branch’s forthcoming events are listed on the homepage along with London-based activities.

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Launch of Southampton Branch

Launch of Southampton BranchWe are delighted to announce that like EDC, the Southampton-based Fellowship Dialogue Society has now become a branch of the Dialogue Society, and will be continuing its work as the Dialogue Society, Southampton branch. The Dialogue Society has been providing consultancy for FDS for two years. The charity will continue to work at various locations across the South of England. You can read about the Southampton team on the Dialogue Society website’s new Southampton Branch section. We look forward to working more closely together to build intercultural dialogue, proactive citizenship and community cohesion in the UK

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Launch of Columns

The Dialogue Society Columns is a new initiative seeking to extend dialogue and inspire ideas through written posts. The purpose of the columns is to promote the dissemination of ideas and views about the Dialogue Society’s key areas of interest and provide another platform for conversation and thought provoking discussion. Dialogue Society advisors, speakers and associates can also use this channel to reach wide and diverse audiences and in essence capture, hone and develop ideas discussed at, or through, the Dialogue Society.

In particular, the Columns aim to explore dialogue theories/theorists and stories. For an example of a column on dialogue theories, please click here. As for columns about dialogue stories, we’ll be sharing real stories that illustrate how dialogue can work in real life. It could be an unexpected outcome from a mundane activity like a chance encounter during shopping. Or a more unusual event that led to greater insight into the lifestyle or culture of another person. If you have a dialogue story to share, be it from personal experience or hearsay, please let us know by contacting hmurat@dialoguesociety.org

Key themes which the columns will explore are as follows:

  • Dialogue theories/theorists and stories
  • Intercultural dialogue and citizenship
  • Community cohesion and multiculturalism
  • Identity and integration
  • Media, culture and communication
  • World cultures and societies

New columns are being posted on the website every few days. Why not have a look at our latest additions:

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Events London

Roundtables with Professor Helen Rose Ebaugh, University of Houston

Roundtables with Professor Helen Rose Ebaugh, University of Houston, 30.03.2011, 31.03.2011

30.03.2011, 31.03.2011 - The Dialogue Society was delighted to host Prof Helen Rose Ebaugh for roundtable discussions with two distinguished groups of academics, civil servants and NGO representatives. Prof Ebaugh discussed her sociological analysis of the civil movement inspired by the Turkish Islamic scholar and peace activist Fetullah Gulen. Given the number and quality of the varied projects associated with the movement, the question of financing has been raised by critics and outside observers and Prof Ebaugh’s work has focused on this question. In 2008 she set out to explore the financial structure, operations and motivations connected with Gulen-inspired institutions in Turkey, interviewing more than a hundred top administrators at those institutions and a range of supporters donating money to Gulen inspired charities and foundations. Wide-ranging discussion of the character and organisation of the Gulen movement followed Prof Ebaugh’s presentation at both roundtables.

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What the Big Society can learn from the Gulen Movement, with Prof Helen Rose Ebaugh

What the Big Society can learn from the Gulen Movement, with Prof Helen Rose Ebaugh, 31.03.2011

31.03.2011 - Following the two round table discussions with invited guests, Prof Helen Rose Ebaugh addressed a full house at the London School of Economics on the question of what the Big Society can learn from the Gulen Movement in generating commitment and social responsibility. In its project to build a “Big Society” in which ordinary people contribute more to the well-being of their communities, one of the key questions often put to the British Government is this: at a time of severe public cuts, wherever will the motivation, commitment and resources for new voluntary action come from? Professor Ebaugh brought to this issue her understanding of the sources of motivation and of financial resources within the Gulen Movement, explaining the findings of her research into the movement and responding to a wide range of questions from the floor.

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Making Dialogue Effective, Panel Discussion 6- Preaching to the Unconverted: How Can Dialogue Reach the Disengaged, the Prejudiced and the Hostile?

Making Dialogue Effective, Panel Discussion 6- Preaching to the Unconverted: How Can Dialogue Reach the Disengaged, the Prejudiced and the Hostile?, 23.03.2011

23.03.2011 - For the final discussion of our “Making Dialogue Effective” series we were delighted to welcome four guests with a wealth of relevant experience: Stephen Shashoua of Three Faiths Forum, Alison Seabrooke of the Community Development Foundation, Prof Ian Linden of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and Canon David Porter of Coventry Cathedral. The question for this session had arisen frequently in previous discussions and it was enlightening to hear the reflections of the panellists and of other participants on this crucial challenge. Issues discussed included the need to respond to the specific priorities and needs of particular disengaged groups, the importance of scriptural challenge in engaging with those with extreme religious views, and the need for religious communities to keep engaging with extremist groups of their own faith, however difficult this may be. We look forward to the replication of this series in the Dialogue Society branches, and to accessing an even broader range of insights.

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Media School Week 9- Attracting Media Coverage, with Mayah Riaz

Media School Week 9- Attracting Media Coverage, with Mayah Riaz, 09.03.2011

09.03.2011 - The 9th of our Media School sessions explored strategies through which organisations can build connections with media representatives and attain press coverage for news and events. Mayah Riaz, a former magazine editor who now runs the PR and Social Media agency Mayah Consultancy, advised participants on how to spot newsworthy stories from within their organisations to maximise press coverage. The session also looked at how organisations and their representatives can become known to journalists and editors. The initial presentation was followed by questions and discussion, and the session left participants with plenty to think about and to put into practice at their various organisations.

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Making Dialogue Effective, Panel Discussion 5 - Becoming a Dialogue Movement: What Can Dialogue Learn from Other Movements?

Making Dialogue Effective, Panel Discussion 5 - Becoming a Dialogue Movement: What Can Dialogue Learn from Other Movements?, 02.03.2011

02.03.2011 - For this panel Ozcan Keles of the Dialogue Society was joined by Dr Nicola Montagna of Middlesex University and environmental author, activist and performance poet danny chivers. The panellists explored what it means to be a social movement, how a movement becomes effective and the advantages and potential drawbacks of identifying with a broader movement. Regardless of the contentious question of whether dialogue initiatives could properly be classed as a social movement, the insights of our panellists and other participants, based on experience of a range of “movements” were most thought-provoking and constructive.

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Media School Week 8- Understanding and Using New Media, with Will Straw

Media School Week 8- Understanding and Using New Media, with Will Straw, 23.02.2011

23.02.2011 - Will Straw, Founder of the evidence-based political blog Left Foot Forward, joined us for a Media School session exploring the development of new media and its potential as an effective tool for organisations and activists. As well as a roundup of the background to new media in its current forms, participants were given practical tips for effective blogging. Issues raised in the discussion included the real impact of internet campaigns in politics, the cost of effective use of new media and the place of new media in current events in the Middle East. The session was a very helpful and engaging introduction to this increasingly important area.

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Dialogue Society Board of Advisors Annual Meeting, North

Dialogue Society Board of Advisors Annual Meeting, North, 17.02.2011

17.02.2011 - The Dialogue Society held its annual Board of Advisors meeting with its advisors based in Northern England on 17th February at Hilton Leeds City hotel. The evening brought together a number of advisors from professional and academic backgrounds. The meeting which lasted over three hours commenced with dinner followed by a one hour presentation by the Executive Director, Ozcan Keles who gave an update on progress since the last advisors’ meeting. This was succeeded by open and critical discussion and feedback on Dialogue Society’s progress, projects and strategic development. Having noted comments, ideas and suggestions generated by the discussions, the Dialogue Society looks forward to implementing these into its work in the forthcoming year.

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Media School Week 7- Broadcast Interview Skills, with Julia Rooke

Media School Week 7- Broadcast Interview Skills, with Julia Rooke, 16.02.2011

16.02.2011 - This interactive Media School session provided participants with a range of useful tips and techniques to help them to give successful broadcast interviews. Julia Rooke, a freelance radio and TV journalist, responded to the questions and comments of participants on a range of issues, including the question of what you should ask your interviewer prior to an interview, and how you can prepare. One participant was brave enough to be interviewed before and after discussion about some key techniques, including the trick of imagining that you are speaking to an intelligent 12-year-old! It was a most helpful session.

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Making Dialogue Effective, Panel Discussion 4- Skills in Dialogue: Cultivating Effective Listening and Empathy

Making Dialogue Effective, Panel Discussion 4- Skills in Dialogue: Cultivating Effective Listening and Empathy, 09.02.2011

09.02.2011 - The fourth of our explorations of “Making Dialogue Effective” focused on the skills required by participants and facilitators in order for dialogue to work effectively. Our panellists were Justine Huxley of St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace, Lisa Cumming of the University of Bradford’s “Programme for a Peaceful City” and Dr Jill Adam of Level Partnerships. The discussion explored a number of key skills, or rather qualities needed for dialogue, including a degree of self-confidence, motivation to understand others, curiosity and a quality of presence and attention. The crucial role of general education in equipping people for dialogue was also discussed. A large audience engaged with enthusiasm with these important issues.

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Media School Week 6: Writing Press Releases, with Neil Barnett

Media School Week 6: Writing Press Releases, with Neil Barnett, 02.02.2011

02.02.2011 - This Media School session explored the art of writing clear, succinct and effective press releases in the proper format. Former journalist Neil Barnett emphasised the importance of considering the interests and priorities of journalists and providing them with a news story relevant to their current areas of interest. Participants had the opportunity to work on their own press releases in small groups, framing their story in a journalist-friendly way and using the suggested format to get their message across in a concise and compelling manner. A diverse group from a range of community organisations, religious groups and charities found that the session gave a very helpful grounding in this crucial skill.

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London Borough Activities

London Borough Activities

24.03.2011 - Over the last months, a new team of Dialogue Society volunteers have been supporting the events and projects of various local community groups and stakeholders in the boroughs in which they are based. We will be introducing the team and their work in full in our next newsletter. Meanwhile, we include here a photo of East London volunteer Tamer Yigit meeting Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who expressed great interest in the work of the Dialogue Society and hopes to join us for lunch soon to learn more.

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Recent Events: Leeds:

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In this issue


Video

Media School - Week 8: Understanding and Using New Media

Media School - Week 8: Understanding and Using New Media

FORTHCOMING


Other news

Past & Forthcoming Events

Visit our Events page to see the number and range of work carried out by the Dialogue Society. Users can view the events in categorical or chronological order.

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Internship at the Dialogue Society

The Dialogue Society is currently offering volunteering placement opportunities for candidates from all backgrounds and interests. We provide a unique, dynamic and stimulating work experience where volunteers are encouraged to plan, build and deliver their own projects whilst contributing to other ongoing projects and tasks.

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Support the Dialogue Society

Regardless of your means and time, there are a number of ways you can support the Dialogue Society. Click below for some practical suggestions.

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Feedback

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Contact Us

Dialogue Society
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T   + 44 (0) 20 7619 0361
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Dialogue Society - 402 Holloway Road, London, N7 6PZ. Ph: +(44) 20 7619 0361